Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Fictions Fuel Politics in 2010

The pure fiction and fantasy which mark the march to political power from Republicans and their imaginary Tea Party pals has been selling well this year. Fiction and fantasy often sell well when the economy is bad and public outrage is fanned by media outlets in search of more viewers/readers.

But here's a simple plain truth - there are many in power in many places who prefer to sell you a fiction rather than face facts. Fiction and fantasy are crafted with drama and romance, reality is a dull task.

And it is far, far simpler to make people fearful. I've been constantly reminded of that as I've been working at pretending to be a ghoulish thing for the last month at the haunted house known as Frightmare Manor here in East Tennessee. Making someone scared is incredibly easy - if you doubt it, then look at the general public response to someone who inspires greatness. Such a person is usually the subject of scorn and ridicule.

The fictions are thick this election year:

People have heard Republicans say "the failed stimulus" so often that many believe it. Again, according to the CBO, the (clearly inadequate) American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan resulted in approximately 3 million jobs, the difference between a lingering recession and a full-blown depression, most economists would say.

Also, many people swear Obama raised their taxes. Actually, he cut them. Almost one-third of the stimulus consisted of tax cuts, not spending. But because the money reached people in small increments through decreased withholding, most don't know it.

And, no, it wasn't the Obama administration that bailed out Wall Street. The Bush administration enacted TARP in October 2008, although most Democrats (Obama included) voted for it. We'd all like to see more high-flying Wall Street fraudsters locked up, but TARP did succeed in saving the financial system while paying for itself.

Ditto the auto industry bailouts, an unfortunate necessity also first initiated by the Bush administration that's basically worked. ...

Even so, "Things could have been much worse" isn't much of a campaign slogan. Moreover, Obama has only himself to blame for the oddly diffident way he's gone about explaining himself. Far from being a condescending elitist, the president has tended to give voters a lot more credit than they deserve.

Hence many of the same dreamers who convinced themselves that the merry-go-round of constantly rising real estate values would help them borrow their way to prosperity now trust that the simplistic nostrums of the Tea Party will lead us safely past Big Rock Candy Mountain and all the way back to Leave It to Beaver-Land. "

And I'm apparently hard-wired to view the political landscape with satiric eyes, since so many would-be power seekers (and those who buy the fictions) offer themselves up for skewering. The imaginary Tea Party movement is in reality a massively Republican funded operation claiming not to be Republican, they claim to be you, America. But they are not.

The double-and-tripled-jointed contortionists of these imaginary political movers and shakers are not new to American politics - they are just more hucksters looking to cash in.

As written by cartoonist Walt Kelly in the late 1960s, this twisting of fact and fiction has long been with us:

The candidate might be more attractive if he could prove himself insane.. To be sane in an insane world would be incongruous.

Porky Pine:
In congruous assembled, therefore, we affirm the world is insane an’ will elect a nutty leader to cope with it! Thereby givin’ him an out!

An out?

Sure.. No matter what he does he can be proven innocent by reason of insanity.

Since I'm old and most people don't know who Walt Kelly or Pogo is/was, then fire up your Google machine and seek them out. Or go the easy route and read up at WikiPedia.

You can also take in the following video from an old movie called "Network", which, more than ever, reveals the brutal weirdness of American media and exposes, through fiction, how corporate power is the One Ring which aims to rule us all.

And if you'd like to peer into the future, instead of the past, to understand what's about to happen to the political landscape, Republican leader Mitch McConnell lays it out - the GOP does not want solutions to the troubles of the nation, they want revenge for being removed from power:

McConnell implicitly argued that he intends to use the levers of power to ensure the president's political destruction. Indeed, instead of talking about job creation or national security as his top priority, McConnell described Obama's defeat as "the single most important thing we want to achieve."

And if, as expected, the followers of fiction prepare to throw out Democrats for their failures, it's worth noting that the failures did not come from Democratic legislation:

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